My First Chattanoogan Drive

The hardest part of taking a two-week vacation is going back to work.  I ease into it gradually, getting up early and taking a morning walk with Pat and even taking my camera so I can shoot the sunrise.  We wander along the riverfront slowly, shooting every few minutes.  We run into another photographer.  I ask him how he likes his tripod (having still not bought one) and he chides me for trying to take landscape shots without one.  OK, maybe not “chides,” but I was pretty humiliated when he asked me how long I’d been shooting and I said, “about 7 years” and he said, “time to get a tripod!”  He also points out a sunrise rainbow that’s formed on the other side of the bridges, which I had completely failed to notice.  Strike two.  We manage to enjoy the sunrise none-the-less, but as a rainbow predicts, rain drops started falling so we high-tailed it home before we (by which I mean my camera) got too wet.

After two weeks off, I’m ready to go back to work from an emotional perspective, but from a pure memory standpoint, it’s like bits and pieces of information have fallen out of my brain and have to be swept up and poured back in again.  However, the last bits of dust that make it all fall back into a coherent picture have to be chased around and forcibly gathered.  Things that seemed vitally important two weeks ago are now just distant memories that I don’t know the status of.  I find myself wishing I had timed my vacation differently, but then I pause to wonder when would have been a better time?  It’s never a good time to take a vacation.

I dive into my email.  It’s actually not as bad as I was afraid it would be.  Fortunately, there is someone to cover for me for once and the more urgent items got taken care of while I was gone.  As I hunch over my keyboard sitting on an ottoman, I am quickly reminded of something I didn’t take care of before going on vacation–I must get an office chair.  The pain in my neck has not gone away even after 2 weeks away from my “desk.”  After only a couple of hours back, I’m in so much pain that I have to move back to the couch where my head is supported.  I decide that I will go chair shopping tonight.

Pat left this morning to go back to Columbus for three days.  I could have gone back with him and worked from Columbus, but I feel a need to stay home for at least a week.  He wants to go home next week, too, so I will go back then.  In the meantime, I am left to keep myself busy for the next three days.  There is one advantage to having just come back from a two-week vacation–I will have plenty to do.

It’s now after 5PM EST and I decide to take a break to go chair shopping.  I google office furniture and discover a website that has some really nice office chairs.  Just out of curiosity, I look up their location and discover that they are located 1 block from me.  This is a nice surprise!  I walk over there to see what they have.  The woman there, Leslie, gets down chair after chair and asks me to sit in each one for a while to get a feel for it.  There is one chair that has a funky neck rest on it.  It’s the only chair that has it.  I sit down and the neck rest hits a sore spot in the crick in my neck.  I think it feels rather awkward and it’s uncomfortable, but Leslie gives is a tug and adjusts it so that the top edge is sitting just under the ridge at the base of my skull.  There is something relieving about being able to set the weight of my head on this headrest.  Although it’s still putting pressure on my neck in ways that I don’t like, I find myself wondering if it might feel better after getting used to it.  Leslie makes the most amazing suggestion:  She tells me to take the chair home and try it for a couple of days to see how it works out.  This is the perfect solution–I get to try the thing before I buy it!  However, I wasn’t optimistic when I came over here that I would find anything, so I didn’t bring the car.  I contemplate rolling the chair down the sidewalk, but see scuffed wheels full of road dust in my head and decide that’s not a good idea.  Instead, I walk back home, pick up the van, and drive in Chattanooga for the very first time.

Yes, it was only a block from home, but, remember, I had to drive 2 blocks by the time I went round-trip.  I did not even use the GPS.  I got in the van, started it up, and drove it like I’d been driving every day for months.  I think about it and realize I haven’t driven since our last trip to Columbus when I drove part of the way home.  That was a month ago.  But, I make it to the furniture store unscathed and amused that this tiny jaunt would end up being my first official drive in Chattanooga!

I retrieve the chair that I’ve signed out on loan and manage to load it into the car with only a couple of new bruises, and then go into the grocery store (which is right across the lot) to get some beer and dinner.  I pick up some stuffed shells, which have become a standard “lazy” dinner lately, and Sierra Nevada.  I forgot to grab a shopping bag when I left the apartment and was unable to find one in the van, so I tell the cashier I don’t need a bag.  Normally, I get $.10 for each bag that I bring and use.  I’ve always thought it was $.10 for every bag of theirs that I don’t use.  Apparently not.  I do not get $.10 for not using a bag at all.  When I think about it, I bring in reusable grocery bags that are 2x the size of the paper bags they use if they bag my groceries, yet, I don’t get $.20 when I fill one of my bags because I saved two of theirs.  No.  I get $.10.  It occurs to me that perhaps I should try bringing a bunch of hand-puppet-sized bags and put one item in a bag.  Would I still get $.10 for each bag I bring?  I may have just found a way to make shopping at Green Life affordable!

When I go back to the house and get my chair upstairs, I go back to work while my pasta shells heat.  I adjust the chair just right and feel my neck stretching and my shoulders relaxing.  I think maybe I will like this chair.


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